Trai Open House on media ownership called off as LCOs, MSOs raise demands on DAS

NEW DELHI: An open house called by the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (Trai) in Hyderabad on media ownership had to be called off mid-way when cable operators and multi-system operators insisted that they should be heard on their problems relating to digitisation.

Around 200 LCOs and MSOs wanted an end to the vertical monopoly of large media houses and sought protection from the Government.

They also raised issues relating to revenue share not being fair, and said it was the LCOs who had built the industry from scratch and made it possible for the broadcasters to reach the consumers.

They also wanted the bouquets drawn up by large broadcasting houses to be broken and rates to be fixed channel-wise.

Some LCOs said the customer had become like a ‘robot‘ that could be manipulated by the broadcasters.

Some of the speakers also said the LCOs had built the industry without foreign direct investment (FDI), and therefore any discussion on FDI was meaningless unless their questions were answered.

The Trai delegation included principal advisors N Parameshwaran and Anuradha Mitra, deputy advisor G S Kesarwani, and secretary Rajeev Agrawal.

Trai officials had come armed with just over thirty questions relating to media ownership issues on which it has already issued a consultation paper. Less than twenty were discussed.

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